Tips to Avoid Deer Accidents on the Road

The months of October, November and December are when most vehicle collisions with deer take place. Deer are more active during these months because it is their breeding season. Though not always avoidable, there are some steps you can take to avoid hitting a deer.

Claims data from a large insurance company showed 2.3 million collisions occurred in the United States between 2008 and 2010. The insurer created a map of the country showing the risk of hitting a deer for each state, according to their own data. States like Michigan, West Virginia, and Iowa have some of the highest risks for deer collisions.

The first thing to do to reduce your risk of a deer collision is to do some online research about your area, or the places you normally drive and see if there are deer populations in those places. If you were aware of deer populations near your typical commute or other driving routes, you may want to consider choosing roads further away from deer concentrations if possible.

In the fall, with daylight savings time, commuters are likely to spend more time driving in darkness in the evenings and early morning, and that is prime deer activity time. So if you drive during those times, you may want to consider taking different roads if there are deer around — this includes trying to avoid roads through heavily forested areas, or with brush close to the road side.

If you can’t drive on different roads, simply lowering your speed while driving in areas with deer can give you more reaction time if you suddenly experience a deer right in front of your moving vehicle. Also going slower provides more reaction time for deer to move away from cars.

Honking at deer could scare them away if you see them on the side of the road ahead of you. Use the high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic, as they reach further down the road ahead of you, so you can see if the way is clear or not.

Hitting a deer while driving can cause significant damage to a vehicle and to its occupants. While rarely fatal, such accidents can cause roll-overs, and the striking of other objects such as telephone poles, trees, and fences when a driver is trying to avoid a deer, or after the collision due to panic, or obscured vision if the animal hits a windshield.

Paying attention to Deer Crossing signs is important because deer tend to use the same paths when they are looking for food or places to sleep during their normal daily movements. If you see one deer, there are probably others nearby because they travel in small groups.

If you suddenly see a deer and can’t avoid it, it is actually probably better to hit it, than swerving into another lane where you could hit another car, or hit a larger object like a tree or telephone pole. If you swerve suddenly to avoid a deer you might also lose control of your car. Hitting an animal with a car is a very unpleasant experience, but it is likely to be safer than making a heroic effort to avoid it and hitting something else.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Gene Oleynik /

Related Links
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Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen3 years ago ride your bike slower moron!

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Magdika Cecilia Perez

thank you

Monica K.
Monica K3 years ago

Deer go for water twice a day, usually dusk and dawn, though in the summer months when days are longer, the times will be different. Most animals killed on the roads are either going to or coming back from water. It's simple - if you are driving near a water source - lake, river, slough or creek, slow down and pay attention! I live in a northern tier state with a large population of deer and a huge variety of wild animals from Grizzly bears to Moose to Skunks, all need water and those trying to exist outside the wilderness areas must cross roadways to reach water. I have deer whistles on my vehicles and they do work. They don't scare them away so much as they make them freeze where they are and try to figure out what they hear, so you can't just stick them on your car and then drive like an idiot. If I spot a deer close to the highway, I honk my horn (and no, honking your horn is not a bad idea, as long as you slow down as well) and slow WAY down, this not only often frightens the deer away, it alerts drivers behind me. I then flash my lights and honk my horn at oncoming drivers to let them know that they need to be cautious. If you see an injured deer on or near the road, unless you are a veterinarian, there is little you can do for it and you may be injured trying, either by the deer or by another vehicle. You can pull off the road and put on your emergency flashers to warn other drivers, then call 911. Sometimes collisions between wildlife and vehicles simply can't be avoi

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V4 years ago


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V4 years ago


Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad4 years ago

OMG! The first time I saw a dead deer off the side of the road when I moved to Chicago, I was like "OH GOD" that's like seeing a human being dead off the side of the road. It was so foreign to this California girl where you are lucky beyond measure to see a deer, even in the mountains. I live right next to a forest preserve and we see deer all the time and I just love it. I would die of a broken heart if I ever hit one but sure have been lucky as I have seen them dart out of the shrubbery and dash across the road, just never right in front of me and pray that never happens!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago

Thankyou for the advice.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Thanks for the tips.

Joe R.
Joe R4 years ago